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China accepts blockchain verification for classroom tests

China has made eligible blockchain files in court as the authorities increase their measures to deal with Internet related legal disputes.

The country's Supreme Court issued the rules last Friday clarifying the legal procedures for newly trained courts specializing in internet cases. One section of the document stated that so-called Internet courts recognize digital data as evidence if they are verified using methods that include digital signatures, timestamps and blockchains. The new rules came into force immediately.

China established its first online court in the Hangzhou e-commerce center in August 2017, which has so far handled more than 10,000 Internet-related disputes in all, from lending to defamation to domain names. In a first of the country, the court established in June a copyright infringement case that the authenticated evidence with blockchain is legally binding.

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger that creates an online database where all participants can share and archive transaction records. Apart from its first applications in cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, some other cases of use of this technology include supply chains, accounting and gaming resources.

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While the courts traditionally depend on third parties for notary organizations to authenticate evidence, blockchain as a new test verification method is "safe, efficient, convenient and low cost," said Zhang Yanlai, a patent attorney Headquartered in Hangzhou Zhejiang Kending Law Office. 19659002] China is not the first to accept blockchain registrations as legal evidence. In 2016, the US state of Vermont passed a law to accept the use of blockchain data in the classroom.

China has pushed for the adoption of the blockchain. The technology was mentioned in 2016 in the country's last five-year plan, and local governments in major cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, all adopted policies to encourage the development of blockchain. This despite the country's repression of the trade in cryptocurrencies among the concerns of financial instability.

China opened its second Internet court in Beijing on Sunday and plans to open a third in the southern city of Guangzhou this month. The proceedings of each case managed by these courts – from the presentation of the complaint to the announcement of the verdict – will be made available online. The litigants are required to participate in the auditions via online video streaming.

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